Julia Roberts: The Lady of Lancôme

Julia Roberts, Lancôme’s new global ambassador, discusses beauty, filming "Eat, Pray, Love," and motherhood.

Despite her affection for Marshall, though, she can’t choose a favorite film she’s played in.

“[It] is like picking your favorite friend; it’s impossible,” she said. “There are different reasons to love them. Obviously, ‘Pretty Woman’ had a profound effect on my life, so I have an incredible affection for that movie. ‘Pelican Brief’ was another really profound moment for me and my relationship with Alan Pakula is a treasure. ‘Erin Brockovich’ for obvious reasons and then just my own personal reason is so incredible. I met my husband while making ‘The Mexican.’”

Looking ahead, Roberts doesn’t have in mind specific types of roles she would like to play.

“I’ve never really thought like that,” she explained. “I don’t have a linear thought process…when it comes to movies. I just feel like they find me. We find each other. It all kind of works out.”

Ditto for choosing films to produce for her production company.

“You just feel that connection,” she said. “My sister is one of my producing partners and my brother-in-law is my other. I think we have really diverse tastes, but we appreciate kind of the same idea of where a story comes from. We don’t pursue specific things. It’s just about looking and finding stories that the three of us together are passionate about because it’s a long process to produce and develop a movie.”

Roberts refuted the report that she might want to act in “Glee,” saying the rumor probably started “because I love Ryan Murphy [who’s produced and cocreated the TV musical comedy], and we’ve become great friends.” Roberts added any neighbor who’s passed by her house while she sings in the shower “knows I probably shouldn’t be on ‘Glee.’”

Theater, however, is a lure.

“I did a play a few years ago, and I loved it,” she said. “It is a challenging medium, theater, and I would love to do it again certainly.”

And film directing?

“Nope, no interest,” she said. “I don’t want that many people asking me questions.”

Roberts said she has seen a huge evolution in the movie industry since she began her career twentysomething years ago, due largely to the multiplication of media outlets, including the Internet.

“There’s just news and fodder and gossip just sort of churned out every second of the day, so in that regard, it’s gotten a little less interesting,” she said. “Things aren’t allowed to take their time and to blossom and to happen the way they used to. I think it’s so much harder to really start out now than it was when I started.”

Roberts will start filming “Larry Crowne” this spring with Tom Hanks and is active in Hope for Haiti fund-raising.

As for the Lancôme deal, the first advertisement she is featured in — for its Définicils Precious Cells Mascara in the U.S. (called also Hypnôse Precious Cells Mascara and Virtuôse Precious Cells Mascara in overseas markets) — was shot by Mario Testino in a private apartment in Manhattan. They will break in March in Europe, followed by Asia in April and then in the U.S. this summer. There also is a TV ad, although its rollout is still being finalized. Lancôme executives, meanwhile, remain mum about specific terms of what is believed to be a multiyear contract with Roberts, although suffice it to say it’s likely one of the most lucrative deals the industry has seen, with estimates ranging from $10 million to $15 million depending on exact duration and other clauses.

Whatever the terms of the agreement, Roberts is basking in her fledgling role at the brand, where she takes a hands-on approach.

“Julia really wants to be involved in the development of the products,” said Nabi, explaining Roberts has shared ideas she had after reading about Lancôme’s history.

“I get all these things to play with and test and give my opinion about,” said Roberts. “And it’s quite exciting without having to invest all of myself in how I look because they did come to me as me, which is a pretty casual mom. But you know, it’s nice to up your game a little bit.”

When asked how having children has changed her beauty regimen, Roberts said, “It kind of comes to a screeching halt. At a certain point in the future, I’ll pick it back up again.

“I think the nice thing about getting older is it forces you in a way to take a greater interest in your [beauty] regime. And so it’s a good moment for me to join forces with people who can help me,” she said, laughing.


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